How To Stop Sticky Soprano Sax Keys

How To Stop Sticky Soprano Sax Keys

Soprano saxophone is awesome! It's fun to play and can sound warmscreamin' or crystalline. But, the soprano sax G# key pad is notoriously sticky. The Low C# is also prone to sticking.

Why do soprano sax keys stick so much?

  • Soprano saxophone is played less often than other saxes so it has more time to rot in the case.
  • The body tube is smaller allowing moisture to trap inside more easily. If you want perspective on how smaller bore makes for sticky keys, just talk to an oboe player.
  • Soprano sax is a "doubler" horn that is often brought on stage, played aggressively for a few minutes, and then set back on the sax stand wet. That's a recipe for stick.
  • Soprano sax is like most other saxes that suffer stuck Eb, G# and Low C# keys - those keys are closed on the tone hole vent to rot faster than open pads. More on this here.
How do you stop sticky keys on your soprano sax?
  • Always use a quality sax swab to clean your horn after playing. Always!
  • Place a Key Leaves soprano key prop under the Low C# and Low Eb after you play. That opens the Eb, C# and G# pads to air dry (because G# and C# are linked). It only takes a few seconds but is proven to help prevent sticking.

  • Store your sax at room temperatures whenever possible. This helps prevent big humidity changes that over time encourage metal corrosion and pad wear.

If the sax pad keeps sticking...

Find a trusted band instrument repair tech near you and follow their advice. All sax pads eventually wear out and a great tech can fix up your sax so you sound your best.

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